What Can Cause Birth Injuries, and Who Is Liable?
There are no two ways around it: Birth injuries can be devastating, emotionally and financially, to families and their children. We’re constantly doing what we can to help those who were affected fight back while also advocating for changes among medical professionals to decrease the incidence of injuries caused by negligence. Unfortunately, America still has a long way to go in protecting women and their babies during pregnancy and childbirth.
The burden absolutely should not be on families to prevent such tragedies, but until our medical system has improved, knowing what causes birth injuries can help you spot warning signs and advocate for yourself. Here’s a primer on what can cause birth injury.
An Obstetrician’s Role in Birth Injury
Childbirth is a difficult process for the mother, even when everything runs smoothly. Anyone who is in labor should have a care team doing their part to spot and address potential issues. Birth injuries can be caused by:
- The normal forces of labor, when they can hurt an infant
- Obstetrical intervention that uses force or other potentially harmful methods
Therefore, preventing birth injury is a careful balancing act for an obstetrician. However, they are highly trained—and paid—to do just that. Your care team should be able to tell when letting labor progress naturally is likely to cause serious, even irreversible, harm to your baby. Likewise, they should be ready to make difficult decisions about intervention under pressure.
Warning Signs and Risk Factors in Birth Injury
While birth injuries can be caused by a split-second bad decision, others come with warning factors that can start to present early in a pregnancy. While birth injuries are rare even when multiple of these factors are present, doctors should be aware whenever they are present so they can prepare for the potential of dangerous complications.
Some of the factors that have been linked with an increased risk of birth injury are:
- Maternal age less than 16 or greater than 35
- First pregnancy
- Cephalopelvic disproportion
- Prolonged labor
- Rapid labor
- Prematurity or low birth weight
- Maternal diabetes
- Breech or other abnormal presentation
- Intervention with forceps or vacuum extraction
When children are injured due to birth injury, it’s important for parents to know whether there were any risk factors doctors failed to note.
Is an Obstetrician Always Liable in a Birth Injury Claim?
While an obstetrician may take the lead in your pregnancy and childbirth care, they are not always directly at fault when negligence causes an injury. Liability in your claim might also rest with technicians, nurses, or the facility itself. In some cases, it may be shared between two or more of these parties. Negligence does not always manifest in one large accident—it can also be a series of small mistakes that compound into something major.
Liability in a birth injury case will always depend on the specifics of the claim. If you’re searching for legal help, be sure to ask a firm about their process for investigating medical malpractice. A team with skilled medical investigators and ties to credible industry professionals will be able to help you much more than a team without this type of technical understanding.
Protecting Parents in Birth Injury Claims
As a parent, making sure your family is cared for is always your first priority—so it’s ours as well. We have the knowledge and experience to help you bring a successful birth injury claim. If you aren’t sure whether you want to file, and simply want to learn more about your options, we are still happy to provide honest guidance. The choice you make should be yours alone, but we want to make sure you know everything so you can make an informed decision.
Sadly, there are no easy answers when your life has been upended by a birth injury. Our attorneys fight hard in every case to help families understand what happened so they can find justice and, where possible, push for larger changes to prevent others from experiencing the same thing. Whatever you need, we want to know how we can help.
Our team has over 60 years of combined experience handling complex personal injury and medical malpractice claims. Call us today at (954) 467-8800 for a free consultation.